US alpine skier Lila Lapanja running gates as the sun goes behind the hill
Lila enrolled at SNC Tahoe to get her college education while she continues her racing career.

Meet Lila Lapanja – U.S. Alpine ski racer, SNC student

At SNC Tahoe, our students come first. That makes Sierra Nevada College a top choice for pro skiers. It’s not just our location close to over a dozen ski resorts. Diamond Peak, Lila Lapanja’s home mountain, is 5 minutes up the road with no car required. We also understand what it takes for elite athletes to take the mountain. Here they can prepare for a future beyond competition without undermining their racing success.

We asked U.S. Alpine ski racer Lila Lapanja to explain her choice.

head shot of US alpine skier Lila LapanjaI can trace my roots back to Sierra Nevada College. My father, Vojko, was a student and athlete here who led his team to win four National Championship alpine titles. He met my mother, Margie, in class and I was welcomed a year later. I’ve lived in Incline Village ever since – I literally grew up playing sports and loving the outdoors across the creek from the campus. Born during a snowstorm, I was destined to be passionate about snow and winter.

My young ski racing career blossomed at Diamond Peak Ski Resort, with my dad as my inspiration and coach. At age 16 I was named to the U.S. Ski Team. There I achieved top honors as a junior racer, and won the 2014 and 2016 North America Cup championship slalom titles. I scored my first World Cup points in Flachau, Austria in 2016. I have stood on the podium in every U.S. National Championship race in which I have competed.

US alpine skier Lila Lapanja rounds a gate during a raceLast year I co-created and joined Team CLIF Bar Ski Racing, after representing the USA on the U.S. Ski Team for six years. This is a corporately-supported, independent team which offers top athletes an innovative platform to continue to build personal and professional excellence at the highest level. My aim: podiums in the World Cup and Olympic Games. I love being a professional athlete and sharing my journey with the world.
US alpine skier Lila Lapanja takes in a Lake Tahoe sunsetI am extremely excited and grateful to attend Sierra Nevada College during my ski career. With SNC’s support, I’ll be able to study at a pace that supports the high demands of World Cup ski racing. My major will be a combination of entrepreneurship and either environmental or global studies. Business, languages, nature, and travel are areas I’m enthusiastic about apart from sports. I can already speak my father’s native tongue, Slovene, fluently, and I’m working on achieving the same in German! I love all animals, so I’m very proud to be an ambassador for the Snow Leopard Trust. I will integrate my education from SNC into my best ski-racing self.

I want to use my ski career in ways that improve and inspire the world, one turn and one class at a time.

Your Future in Ski Business

Whether or not you’re an elite athlete, you can make a professional career on the slopes. In SNC Tahoe’s Ski Area Management bachelor’s degree program, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of the ski resort business from the pros. Intern at Lake Tahoe’s world-class resorts. Network with our alumni, the founders and managers of ski resorts and the publishers of ski magazines. Our guest speaker forum brings Presidents, CEOs, and CFOs in the winter resort industry into your classroom. Graduate with a college degree and a resume that will take you anywhere you want to go.

Your Time on the Mountain

Diamond Peak, the championship SNC Tahoe Ski and Snowboard Team’s home resort, is just 5 minutes from campus by free shuttle. There are over a dozen premier ski areas within easy driving distance. Those include Squaw Valley, Northstar, Heavenly Valley, and Kirkwood. Whatever your skill level and terrain preference, it’s not far from here